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Barefoot Farmer

Barefoot Farmer - Jeff Poppen

The Barefoot Farmer (Jeff Poppen) uses his farm (Long Hungry Creek Farm) as an example in demonstrating good farming principles. The landscape and atmosphere of the 21st century is leaning away from a small farm economy, bucolic scenery, sustainable agriculture and homegrown meals. The health of ourselves and our environment can only be enhanced by a reliance on local small farms for our needs. To learn more about these principle join Jeff Poppen with his weekly column - Barefoot Farmer.

To e-Mail Jeff - This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it



Onions the first crop PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
Onions are the first crop to go out in the fields. Four boxes of bunches arrived via UPS, and I knew it was time to get busy. I loaded the manure spreader and quickly had a breakdown. So I unloaded it by hand. The other spreader flung three loads out before it messed up and I unloaded the last load by hand. I tiredly ran the chisel plow though the field at dusk.
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Hidden Alchemy PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
“For there is a hidden alchemy in the organic process. This hidden alchemy really transmutes the potash, for instance, into nitrogen, provided only that the potash is working properly in the organic process. Nay more, it even transforms into nitrogen the limestone, the chalky nature, if it is working rightly. The fact is that under the influence of hydrogen, limestone and potash are constantly being transmuted into something very like nitrogen, and at length into actual nitrogen. And the nitrogen which is formed in this way is of the greatest benefit to plant-growth.”
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Nitrogen PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
It is disheartening to see a garden with a yellowish hue, denoting a lack of nitrogen, or an abandoned, ungrazed pasture begging for manure. Nitrogen has to be available for plants to grow, but luckily it’s everywhere. Air is 79% nitrogen, it is in every breath you take. Steiner has a lot to say about nitrogen.
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Manure Connoisseur PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, March 3, 2009
I’m a manure connoisseur. Good quality manure is not offensive and I’m happy to see a field full of cow pies (so are the earthworms). Manure has too much nitrogen to rot properly; we can smell this as ammonia. So we look around the farm for carbon to add to the manure, and we find old hay and rotted forest products. Along with good garden soil to guide the composting process, we create the stable humus that our livelihood depends upon.
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A Farm Needs Cattle PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
“A farm needs cattle,” Dad informed us. It was 1974, and we’d just settled into our new (old) Tennessee homestead, which had obviously revolved around livestock. Dad had experienced the deterioration of the soil, and the local rural economy, in the Midwest during the previous decades, and attributed this to the removal of livestock from cropland. Nitrogen from cow manure or clover was not the same as nitrogen from a bag. Cattle and the crops they graze can improve the soil’s humus content, and manure is the best fertilizer (except for the proverbial farmer’s own footsteps).
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